California Department of Industrial Relations Offices

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Marilyn Miller Farmer, AIA, LEED AP, LEED Consultant
Fraser Seiple, Architects
Walter Bros., Owner

California Department of Industrial Relations Offices
San Luis Obispo, California

The 9,479 SF California Department of Industrial Relations Offices was the first new office building in San Luis Obispo County to achieve a LEED Gold Certification.

Department of Industrial Relations Office Building Entrance

LEED Gold Dedication Ceremony


Sustainable Design Features:


Site Planning

The DIR project has included measures to effectively reduce storm water run-off by drainage control, capturing and storing the water onsite.  It will be using this water along with a grey-water recycling system to reduce the water use in the building.  The project is reducing site heat gain (Heat Island Effect) by selecting porous or light-colored paving and roofing materials which reflect the heat gain.  Additionally, the DIR project will not create light pollution off-site at night.

Water Management:

The DIR has excelled in the category of water efficiency by designing a landscape that requires little or no irrigation, by using greywater for flushing and with water efficient fixtures.  Water uses for irrigation has been reduced by over 50%, and general water use by more than 30%.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency is another category that the DIR project has exceeded all expectations.  The building will perform 27% better than Title 24 requirements, which means that this building is about 57% more efficient than typical buildings of this kind in the US.  With on-site solar power generation and renewable energy grid power, this building will reduce its energy use and carbon footprint by approximately 70% over other buildings of its type.

Materials Use

The Dir project will be collecting and storing all recycled materials on a regular basis in its day to day operations and will be diverting 75% of its construction waste in this manner as well.  The architect has specified recycled materials, regional materials and certified wood.  Walter Brothers will be reusing concrete and asphalt and the DIR will be reusing refurbished office furniture in place of purchasing new.

Indoor Environmental Quality

This is the most exciting category of all as it impacts all the users on a daily basis.  The DIR project has been designed to incorporate day lighting and views to the exterior to reduce the need for electric lighting, and concurrently mechanical systems to vent the heat from that lighting, and to create a vibrant interior working environment that is connected to the environment.  All interior finishes will be non-toxic, low VOC materials that will also contribute to a healthy office environment.  Studies done by many external parties have recently begun to verify that productivity increases in LEED buildings with daylighting, views and healthy materials greatly out-weight all the energy or water savings combined.  

Innovation & Design

This is the last LEED credit category where you propose credit for exemplary performance in many of the above categories and for new, innovative measures that do not fall into any of the other categories.  The DIR project anticipates receiving 3 - I&D credits for coordinating educational tours to Cuesta and Cal Poly Architecture students through the construction process, for monitoring and displaying real-time energy and water use in an education kiosk in the building lobby, and for instituting green cleaning products into their regular maintenance.

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